The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday said that Indian Railways will pay 85 per cent train fares of migrant workers. The remaining 15 per cent, state governments will have to pay.
The move has come after the centre faced a backlash from Congress party, and other opposition leaders for charging migrant labourers during the lockdown.
BJP leader Sambit Patra stated that that for each 'Shramik Express' (special trains being run for migrants) about 1,200 tickets to the destination were handed by the railways to the state government concerned.
Rahul Gandhi ji,— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 4, 2020
I have attached guidelines of MHA which clearly states that “No tickets to be sold at any station”
Railways has subsidised 85% & State govt to pay 15%
The State govt can pay for the tickets(Madhya Pradesh’s BJP govt is paying)
Ask Cong state govts to follow suit https://t.co/Hc9pQzy8kQpic.twitter.com/2RIAMyQyjs
On Monday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Railways' Ministry for charging money from poor migrant labourers.
Rahul Gandhi said, " On the one hand, the railways charging tickets from migrants workers in various states, on the other hand, Ministry of Railways is donating Rs 151 crore in PM-CARES Fund. Solve this puzzle!".
BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy also condemned the centre for not subsidising train fares of migrant workers. Swamy wrote: "How moronic of the Government of India to charge steep rail fares from the half-starved migrant labourers! Indians stranded abroad were brought back free by Air India. If Railways refuse to budge then why not make PM CARES pay instead?"
How moronic of the Government of India to charge steep rail fares from the half starved migrant labourers! Indians stranded abroad were brought back free by Air India. If Railways refuse to budge then why not make PM CARES pay instead?— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 4, 2020
Swamy later informed that he had a talk with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and clarified that migrant workers returning home will not have to pay any money from now onwards.
"Talked Piyush Goel office. Govt will pay 85% and State Govt 15% . Migrant labour will go free. Ministry will clarify with an official statement".
Talked Piyush Goel office. Govt will pay 85% and State Govt 15% . Migrant labour will go free. Ministry will clarify with an official statement— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 4, 2020
On May 2, the Ministry of Railways laid out a detailed plan on sale of rain tickets. In the release, the railway ministry asked states to collect money from migrants for tickets and hand over to it.
"Railways will print tickets to the specified destination, as per the number of passengers indicated by originating state and hand them over to local state government authority. Thereafter, the local state government will hand over the tickets to the passengers and collect the ticket fare. The state government will hand over the total amount to Railways," the railway ministry said in a release.
Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has announced that party's state units will bear the cost of rail travel of needy migrant workers and labourers stranded at their workplaces.
Sonia said, "This would be the Congress' humble contribution in standing shoulder to shoulder with these workers, who are the backbone of the country's economy".
She also accused the central government and the Railways of completely ignoring the demands made by Congress for ensuring the safe and free travel of migrant workers to their homes.
The Ministry of Railways, recently launched special trains across various destinations in the country to ferry migrant labourers during the coronavirus lockdown. The railways started running special service under the name 'Shramik Express'.